AL GROH IS THE DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR OF THE GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS! That's right, the man who coached the GREAT GREAT Giants defenses of the late 80s and early 90s is coming to The Flats. In case you hadn't heard yet. This is old news to all of you obviously, but this is my first chance to give you my thoughts on this.
Groh is a huge hire for the Tech football program, and that is an understatement. As Dane put it on Friday night, "Dude, we are a legit team now." Truer words have never been spoken. Between the Reckbone offense and now Groh's extremely unique 3-4 defense we are going to be a nightmare to prepare for each week. Although the 3-4 defense has become more prevalent in the college game in recent years, it's still something that college offenses do not see on a regular basis, especially in the ACC. Combine the 3-4 system that with the athletes already in place on the defensive side and we should be very well off on that side of the ball next year.
While we don't have the ideal personnel at the moment for this defense, we have a number of pieces in place to succeed right away. As Groh said, the most important positions in this system are the Nose Tackle and Outside LBs. T.J. Barnes and Redshirt Freshman J.C. Lanier both have the size to play that position right away. Ben Anderson could also be a candidate to play here even with his smaller size (relative to the other 2 guys) as he can eat up blockers inside. We sorely missed Ben the last 3 games of the season. As for freshman, Shawn Green is probably the DT recruit most likely to stay at NT in the 3-4. Denzel McCoy will most likely move over to DE in the new scheme, which should work out okay because McCoy played a lot of DE during his senior season.
As for OLB, we are much stronger here than at NT in my opinion. Look for Anthony Barnes to have a much bigger role on defense next year at this position. AT has always been a "tweener" who's talents could never be fully utilized in our 2 previous defensive schemes. In addition, guys like Sylvester, Watts, Chris Crenshaw, Euclid Cummings, among others should all get some chances at the OLB position. We shouldn't have any problems rushing the passer with those guys coming off the edge.
One more area where this hire really helps is recruiting. CPJ said that the reason he finished the search last week was so that the new DC could sink his teeth into recruiting for this class. I have a feeling Groh's hiring will land us at least another recruit on the defensive side of the ball. I won't name any names here, but we have an excellent shot at landing at least one more LB recruit. We had a chance with him before this hire, but I think our odds of landing him are greatly increased by switching to the 3-4 scheme.
In related news, we added the 14th verbal commit, a kicker, to this class over the weekend. CPJ received a verbal commitment from Justin Moore out of Marist HS in Atlanta. Moore actually switched his commitment from Miami (OH) to us since we just offered him a scholly last Wednesday. Justin is the top-rated kicker in the state of Georgia, though he is only rated 2 stars. Kickers don't hold the same value to the recruiting services as position players. The scouting report on Moore is that he is extremely accurate but has a great leg to go with it. I think it's important for us to have a legitimate scholarship kicker on the team. Blair may beat him out next year, but competition at the spot can only improve the performance of our place kickers. After the commitment by Moore, I estimate we still have 3 scholarships to give this year.
More updates to come this week on the recruiting front. Sorry I've been MIA the later part of last week, I just moved to the St. Louis area to start my job this week. So if there are any readers in the St. Louis area who are looking for a new drinking buddy, look no further. I have arrived.
Al Groh baby, Al freaking Groh. Is it September yet?